Searching for Israeliness in 'No Man's Land': an ethnographic research of Israeli citizenship in a zionist academic institute in the 'West-Bank' of Israel/Palestine
Enav, Yarden B.
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis is the result of ethnographic research carried out in an Israeli academic institution, located in the West-Bank of Israel/Palestine. Focusing on the social science department, the research examines the content and context of the study of social anthropology in this institute namely, The Academic College of Judea & Samaria ('The ACJS'), and analyses the ways in which Israeli identity is being understood and imagined by its students. Part One of the thesis examines the broad academic and geo-political context of the study of social anthropology in The Academic College of Judea & Samaria (The ACJS). This part includes three chapters: The first chapter presents an historical analysis of 'Israeli Social Anthropology' as a (Zionist) national tradition of ethnographic research. The second chapter is an introduction to the research of citizenship in Israel/Palestine and to the related concept of Israeliness as a 'culture of citizenship'. It includes an analysis of the West-Bank of Israel/Palestine as a disputed geo-political entity and a (political) no man's land within the international system of nation-states. The third chapter is an outline of the Jewish-Israeli settlement project in the West-Bank of Israel/Palestine, and also introduces the reader to the WB settlers. Part Two of the thesis is ethnographic and includes three chapters. The first chapter is ethnography of the West-Bank settlement-town where the ACJS is located, Ariel 'Settlementown'. This chapter incorporates a new descriptive method in political anthropology or, in the 'anthropology of the political', that of ‘sensing the political’ (Navaro-Yashin, 2003). The second and third chapters of the ethnographic part describe and analyze 'everyday life' in the ACJS itself, focusing on its social sciences department. It examines the way in which social anthropology is taught in the ACJS, and the ways in which Israeli identity is imagined and understood by its students. The summary of the thesis includes a triple hierarchical model of Israeli citizenship, based on this research, as well as suggestions for further research in the field of political anthropology and the anthropology of citizenship. The analytical focus of this research is Israeli citizenship and the concept of Israeliness as a 'culture of citizenship'. The research set itself as a search for the ways in which Israeliness was expressed and practiced in the 'everyday life' of people in the ACJS, and especially among its social science students and faculty. Studying Israeliness as a culture of citizenship implies adopting a new and different way of conceptualizing and understanding Israeli identity. Instead of adopting the Zionist political image of a (Jewish) national community, a view which, as has been the situation also in Israeli Social Anthropology, excludes non-Jewish citizens of Israel, the concept of Israeliness as a 'culture of citizenship' offers a new image of an Israeli political identity/community, one that includes all citizens of the State of Israel, regardless of their ethnic/religious identity and belonging. Thus, it is intended that the main contribution of this thesis will be to 'Israeli Social Anthropology' in filling these methodological and theoretical Lacunae, and in showing a way out of what appears to be a conceptual dead-end which it had reached concerning the interpretation and representation of Israeli identity. This intention seems even more advisable in the particular case of Israel/Palestine, where an adoption of the more inclusive discourse of 'citizenship' might contribute towards ‘Peace Education’, so much needed today as part of the long-term efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.